AN INQUIRING MIND

Psychology Forensic The Justice System

I’ve discovered a new passion, proving that you’re never too ‘old’ or middle-aged in my case, to find new loves (not of the romantic variety either, at least, not in my case). Since being in college, I’ve developed a real interest in learning about new subjects. Nothing unusual about that,  but I was denied this opportunity when I was back in High School having been told by my teachers that I ‘wasn’t clever enough’. My current term with my present college ends late this summer, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it.

I recently applied to do a new course, at the same college, in Psychology, Forensics and The Justice System, and I found out today that I’ve been accepted. I am so thrilled! It’s only part-time and at an elementary level, but it will give me the experience to decide whether I want to follow this up with a more advanced qualification. The course doesn’t start until next January, and I’m itching to get started already. I wonder whether I’ll finally develop a liking for Judge Judy or Judge Rinder, of television fame.

Not content with that, I want to fill the Autumn Term gap with learning about another interest of mine, a short evening course (now the evenings are lighter), in hearing loss and British Sign Language. Although I don’t have any hearing loss, my Mum, when she was alive, struggled with this. British Sign Language has always fascinated me, ever since I was young when I learned the deaf alphabet on my fingers. It would be good to develop that a bit more. I think I’ll enjoy that.

I do realise that I am very fortunate in having the spare time to follow some of my ‘dreams’. Dreams may seem like a big word when describing something as ordinary as education. However, I’ve never really hanckered after travelling the world, marrying a rich man or becoming Prime Minister. My dream, simply, is to fulfil my potential which was denied to me when I was growing up … so, here I am at very lively age of sixty finally achieving those dreams.

 

 

THIS WORLD IN WHICH WE LIVE

THIS POST IS TAKEN FROM MY SECONDARY BLOG WHICH I AM TAKING A BREAK FROM FOR A WHILE. IT INCLUDES (AT THE BOTTOM), A BEAUTIFUL POEM WRITTEN BY MY FRIEND, KATIE MARSH, WHICH I WANTED TO TRANSFER TO THIS, MY USUAL BLOG, TO GIVE IT CREDIT. SOME OF YOU WILL HAVE ALREADY READ IT BUT FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO HAVEN’T, I HOPE IT TOUCHES YOU AS IT DID ME X

gif - power of love - power of war

I don’t claim to be an expert or even a particularly knowledgeable person when it comes to the subject of Planet Earth. I failed geography, abysmally at school. However, I do care about what we are doing to our world and beyond. I care about all the people who have suffered and lost their lives, those who are still suffering and those who will suffer in the future whether it be by natural causes, illness, disasters, war, poverty or by any other means.

I care that we are destroying our planet; destroying our population; destroying our people, wildlife, and nature. I care that we are ravaged by war; that we are polluting our planet and the atmosphere. I care that a huge number of people are homeless, roaming the streets, roaming the deserts, the plains, the forests and the wilderness. I could continue further, but many of us know the facts already.

I am scared for all our futures; I’m scared for our children’s futures, our grandchildren’s futures and all future generations after that, if by then there is still a habitable planet to live on. The list goes on and on … and on … and on … and on … until infinity.

And the very recent and past atrocities have really brought home to me just how fragile our lives are. If only the power of love could overcome the power of war then maybe, just maybe we could experience peace in our time. Perhaps it would be a start.

A very close friend of mine, Katie, wrote these very moving words about the current situation that I wanted to share with you here….

The winds of Mother Nature are blowing on the Earth
Accepting all we’ve done to her since our sweet sacred birth.
There are babies curled in cradles unaware of hate and crime
Dreaming of their Mummies in the loving hands of Time.
Forgive us sweetest Mother for the ways that we’ve grown old
For independent streaks in us that turned our hearts too cold.
We’ve sinned so much we’re hurting and the pain is plain to see
That first we were so innocent on a gentle, rocking knee.
How love could turn to awful hate and safety turn to terror
Is based it seems on single thoughts that have their root in error.
Behind us and in front of us is such an awesome Love
That would have us in its gentlest hold in time with God above.
If only we could fall down flat and beg to stop the violence
Our hearts might cry sincerely out, then rest in hallowed silence.

©Katie Marsh 2015

“6 THINGS I WISH I COULD UN-TELL MY CHILDREN”

I thought this was a really interesting article and found it very thought-provoking, and agreed with most of it apart from No.6 which disputes “You are special” – I tell both my son and my daughter (when I get the opportunity) that they will always be special to me and that I keep them close to my heart. x

Mother and sons looking out from hotel balcony, Fethiye, Turkey

(All credit goes to Tina Plantamura with my thanks)

My oldest son just graduated high school and is now embarking on the next leg of his journey that will bring him closer to real life. I have come to realize that there are so many things that I wish I could un-tell him.

I hope he knows that all of these empowering, yet misleading little statements that I (or others with the best intentions in mind) might have spoken into his nearly grown-up ears are not exactly true…

1. You don’t owe anyone anything.

You have one major responsibility: to be part of the positive change in this world. If you are not part of it, you are opposing it. You owe everyone (including yourself) a measure of kindness, mercy, patience, respect and empathy. Everyone is fighting some sort of battle. Everyone has a chapter in their lives that they do not want to read aloud. You might have stepped right into the middle of someone’s toughest battle, so while they are struggling to keep it together, if nothing else, all you have to do is be kind. How hard is that?

2. Respect is earned, not given freely.

This is similar to the “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” argument, but more ridiculous. Should you wait for someone to earn your respect before you respect them? Should you assume no one respects you until you have clearly earned their respect? Can you get respect without giving it? Can you give respect and just automatically assume you’ll earn it? If you don’t earn someone’s respect, should you be disrespectful to them? You are responsible for the way you conduct yourself, regardless of whether anyone else is respectful. So please, be respectful.

3. Just be yourself, and people will know how talented/qualified/desirable you are!

Too many other logical statements make this one seem absurd: Step out of your comfort zone. Make your presence known. Know when to hold ’em and know when to fold ’em. If you don’t ask, the answer will always be “no.” Persistence, humility, and deliberate effort will help you shine and move toward the direction of becoming a productive human.

Please, please do not just float around in this world and expect to get what you want by being your cute little self. Also, know that sometimes you will bust your ass and no one will notice but you. Hey, this leads us to the next one…

4. Hard work pays off.

Except when it doesn’t. Occasionally, the hardest work and the most diligent efforts yield the most dreaded result: nothing. Life is unfair sometimes. You have to work hard anyway, because no work ALWAYS yields nothing.

5. You have to pursue your dream career in order to be happy in life.

Find 15 people and ask them if they have their dream job. Then, ask them if they are happy with their lives. The answers will surprise you. Not everyone needs a wonderful, rewarding career in order to be happy in life. Some people are working in their field of choice, doing exactly what they always wanted to do, and they’re miserable. Some people merely have “a job” and still live rewarding, spectacular lives. And some love their career, but long for more in their personal lives. Do pursue your dreams, but make sustainability a priority. Working hard to support yourself can be more rewarding than being 30 years old and waiting for the perfect career while still living in your childhood bedroom. The way to prevent that from becoming your future is to make sure you are able to earn a living even if you don’t ever land your dream job.

6. You are special!

You are no better, no worse, no greater, and no less than anyone else in this world. Every person you know is better than you at something. Every person you know struggles with something that is very easy for you. Use your strengths to make this world a better, more enjoyable place (because when it’s better for others, it’s better for you, too). Ask for and accept help when you need it. Never behave as though any person, task, or circumstance is above you or beneath you.

***

JAGGED ROCKS

Words. I’ve been writing most of the afternoon (I know I am blessed to be able to have the time to do so when the fancy takes me). Many don’t have this opportunity. I’ve been writing letters and emails mostly – catching up with old friends and trying to establish new affiliations with vaguely familiar acquaintances from my new church. Forming links and building bridges . But when I read over what I have written, I am dismayed to find it is mostly ‘waffle’ (but then I’ve always been a bit of a ‘waffler’ or so I’m often told). Mind you, when I am told that I am, it has the effect of making me feel that I want to slither like a snail, silently back into my shell and then crawl out of view, under the nearest and most jagged rock I can find. Such is my shame and embarrassment.

we are what our thoughts have made us

Words. I wish I could find them, or at least I wish I could find them when I am most at a loss for them. Words can be cheap, ugly and almost disposable or they can be rare, beautiful and very valuable. I just wish I could find the right ones at the right moment. Instead of which, I very often open my mouth and stick my size four foot right into it. I’ve decided that jagged rocks are quite a good find on such an occasion.

Words. I love the way that each strike of a keyboard produces a different letter. The letters of the alphabets of this world take on amazing forms, shapes and symbols, collectively producing individual words which tumble into sentences and expressions which can vary from dire to mediocre to quite stunning said at the right time at the right place.

Words. I’m reading back – I have, on reflection, achieved nothing but waffle and so will take my leave at this point and go in search of a suitably uncomfortable jagged rock. They have their uses at times.

THE COURAGE TO BE REAL – WANTED: WOMEN (AND MEN)

This is a selection of excerpts from the book illustrated below. All credit goes to Holly Gerth. I was so encouraged by what I read, I just had to share a snippet of it here. I also have to put my hand up in the air and say, “yes, that’s me – I need to be real”. (I have no connection with the author other than respect).

you are loved no matter what

We don’t want to see the vacuum lines in your carpet. Instead we want to hear about what’s causing those worry lines to crease your forehead. We don’t want to be impressed by your cute shoes. We want a glimpse of your soul. We don’t want to read your “I’ve got it all together” blog post when we know that inside you’re falling apart.

In a classic children’s story called The Velveteen Rabbit, a toy bunny longs to become “real” too and asks another toy in the nursery about it.

“Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,” he asked, “or bit by bit?”

“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.

Becoming real is a lifelong process. But we can look for those who are actively pursuing it and invite them into our lives. That’s especially true when it comes to women who are further along in the journey than we are.

My friend and fellow writer Jennifer Watson said:

I would much rather hear from a 50-something, or older, who is killing it and more beautiful than she’s ever been because she knows what really matters in life, not some woman afraid of aging squeezing into skinny jeans who is terrified that she’s no longer relevant and useful. Every day is a battle and we are nothing without each other. Maybe it’s time to stop comparing and join forces.

Who are you letting speak into your life? We need peers, mentors, and encouragers. And in all of those roles, we need people who are willing to say, “I don’t have it all together. But I believe we’re better together.”

Look for these characteristics in “real” people:

  • Willing to share their struggles
  • Can laugh at themselves
  • Committed to facing fear and taking risks
  • Get back up when they fall
  • Pursue lifelong growth
  • Quick to encourage others
  • Celebrate the successes of those around them
  • Ask for help when they need it
  • Avoid gossip, criticism, and condemnation
  • Embrace their weaknesses as part of who they are
  • Don’t apologize for their strengths but instead use them
  • Love freely because they know how to freely be loved

Of course, we’re all works in progress. No one is going to fit this list completely. But if you find someone going in this direction, ask if you can walk beside them. Be open to what you can learn. Honor and respect those with more life experience rather than pretending you know it all. We need each other.

Also remember you can be one of those people for others. If people around you seem to constantly try to be perfect, it may be because in some way you’re giving off the impression they need to be. Or you may be modeling that behavior by expecting perfection from yourself. Sometimes we have to be the first one to say, “I’m struggling with this.” That takes courage, but when I’ve done so, the response usually has been a huge sigh of relief followed by, “Me too.”

There are no perfect people. We’re all mixed-up, in need of grace, learning every day people. You. Me. All of us. The good news is we’re also made new, deeply loved, extraordinary women who have so much to offer the world.

XOXO

Holley Gerth

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PETITION – MY RECOVERY COLLEGE IS AXED (2)

FOLLOWING MY LAST POST, I HAVE NOW BEEN GIVEN PERMISSION TO POST OUR PETITION HERE.

PLEASE, PLEASE SIGN THIS PETITION TO KEEP MY RECOVERY COLLEGE FROM BEING AXED BECAUSE OF GOVERNMENT FUNDING CUTS. EVERY VOTE WILL MAKE SUCH A DIFFERENCE. THERE IS NO MONEY INVOLVED AND ALL INFORMATION IS KEPT STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR TIME – VOTES NEED TO BE AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. X

https://www.change.org/p/mid-essex-clinical-commissioning-group-reinstate-funding-for-the-mid-essex-recovery-college-and-hub

MY RECOVERY COLLEGE IS AXED!

a college

Why can’t the government leave things alone if they are working well?! They have decided to stop the funding for my college which is a Recovery College. It’s a college for 500 people like myself who are living with or recovering from (or trying to) mental health conditions. It’s a great place and has really helped me gain my confidence and learn new coping strategies. I’ve also made lots of friends of all sorts there and got to know all the tutors and other staff really well. We’ve been running for nearly four years now, learned a lot, shared a lot and had a lot of fun. Also, on a more serious note, I and we have all learned so much about coping with our lives with a mental health disorder and some of us have been able to move along to voluntary or paid avenues. I attend there 3-4 times a week and have benefitted enormously. It has given me structure to my week, a purpose and a social life, all of which have contributed to my improved mental health.  I am upstet and devastated.

The government promised that they would spend more money on mental health yet they are shutting down organizations like ours all over the country. We are campaigning and petitioning fiercely to defend our college but it is not looking promising and students are becoming very down and disheartened as a result.

The government say they want to save money yet can’t they see how bloody and stupidly short-sighted they are! As a result of the college closing, our students will need more support from NHS services such as the Acorn Centre (inpatient), the Crisis Team, our Social Workers, Psychiatrists, CPNs (Community Psychiatric Nurses) and GPs which will in the long run cost far more money.

I will be lost without my college which is set to close at the end of June this year. I have spent hours there, learning, studying, buddying, getting excellent advice and support, socializing and making good friendships and relationships with staff and managers.

So far, we have had a photo and article in the county newspaper, we have been on the radio, have been to see our local MP, have put a petition out there etc, etc, but all to no avail. We are NOT giving up and will continue to fight right up until the doors have to close. We must keep fighting!

As per my following my post, for anyone reading this would you PLEASE PLEASE sign our PETITION to keep this college open. All information is kept strictly confidential. THANK YOU SO, SO MUCH.

https://www.change.org/p/mid-essex-clinical-commissioning-group-reinstate-funding-for-the-mid-essex-recovery-college-and-hub